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Successful Interviews Aren’t As Complicated As You Think

You’ve been in bad interviews. Probably a lot of them. And you’ve collected funny stories of all those interviews gone wrong over the years. In a recent post by our friends at Fistful of Talent, blogger RJ Morris gets to the real reason behind bad interviews.

Sure, there are candidates who show up wearing something ridiculous, or say something ridiculous, but for the most part, a bad interview is not the candidate’s fault. Usually the process or the manager (or both) is to blame.

On the interview spectrum, there are two extremes:

  • Super scripted: Follow the interview guide to a tee. Read the instructions, ask all the questions.
  • Completely unstructured: Wing it. Fire off questions at random. “If you were a tree, what type of tree would you be?”

As RJ Morris explains, most interviews fall somewhere in the middle. He shares a story from GeekWire about how Uber’s CEO hired his Chief Technology Officer. Now that’s a high stakes interview that the CEO wanted to get right.  Instead of hosting some chummy meetings, this interview was more like a series of debates over a two week period. The CEO and the prospective CTO talked for 30 hours total about topics from hiring and firing to engineering and project management.

The now CTO described the process by saying “We just jammed like that… I actually forgot it was an interview.” The lesson is—do whatever it takes to make the best hire, and never settle for a process that doesn’t work for you. Layer on other strategies and think outside of the box.

Discussion and conversation, wrapped around key topics that are important for the role, will usually yield some pretty good data. In this case, it showed both the candidate and the hiring manger that there was good alignment. 30 hours of one-on-one dialogue between a CEO and a key direct hire? Sounds like a solid process.”

Read the full post: Whatever Your Process, Interviewing Comes Down to Conversation at

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